Software Engineer

The legal status of the qualification: SAQA ID: 119458, Credits 240, NQF Level 6


The purpose of this qualification is to prepare a learner to function as a Software Engineer. A Software Engineer researches, analyses, and evaluates requirements for existing or new software applications and designs, develops, deploys, tests within the scope of work (debugs) and maintains software applications.

A qualified learner will be able to:

Design software to meet clients’ needs.

Design and manipulate databases.

Develop software to add value to the organisation.

Test or debug source code to ensure client’s needs are met.


The National Certificate: Information Technology (Systems Development) qualification that is currently registered with the South African Qualification Authority (SAQA) is due for realignment. To address this, the Media Information Communication and Technology Sector Education and Training Authority (MICT SETA) has initiated the process of realigning this qualification through the Quality Council for Trades and Occupation (QCTO) qualification development model. The need to realign this qualification was further motivated by the fact that there are no registered occupationally-based software engineering-related qualifications.

Career mobility is possible within the ICT environment with a wide variety of specialisation options within the Telecommunications, Information Technology and Electronic Industries and other industries where IT is a key component, like the Financial Services or Insurance Industries. Learners who successfully complete the Software Engineering qualification can advance their careers by taking on additional responsibilities such as leadership roles or pursuing entrepreneurial opportunities. Businesses, organizations and communities will benefit from this qualification by being served by qualified Software Engineers. These professionals will perform their roles efficiently and effectively by contributing to the building of the economy and South Africa as a whole, by developing innovative software solutions facing the country.

Typical learners to enroll for this qualification are people with workplace experience in the systems development areas who would like to formalise their training; other professionals, school leavers and qualifying learners, who have already been exposed to the system development area and want to pursue a career towards Software Engineer. Upon completion of this qualification, learners may gain employment in the Software Engineering field within the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) industry and all other industries that require ICT services.

Minimum Entry Requirement

Any NQF Level 4 qualification with mathematics and English, or Grade 12 / Senior Certificate (60%) with Mathematics and English.

If the Grade 12 marks are below 65%, a short bridging course on NQF Level 5 should be completed to qualify for Software Engineering qualification.

Bridging course:  Introduction to Software Development and Programme Languages

Duration: 3 Months

Exit level: 5

Credits: 5

Recognition of Prior Learning

CGTS allows students to access the qualification through Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL), who do not meet the minimum entry requirements:


2 years full-time and 3 years part-time including Workplace Learning Experience


This qualification is made up of compulsory Knowledge, Practical Skill and Work Experience Modules:

Knowledge Modules (KM)

251201-001-00-KM-01, Software Engineering, Level 6, 20 Credits.  251201-001-00-KM-02, Programming, Level 6, 20 Credits.

251201-001-00-KM-03, Database Design and Information Systems, Level 6, 15 Credits.

251201-001-00-KM-04, Fundamentals of Project Management in Relation to Software Engineering, Level 5, 5 Credits.

251201-001-00-KM-05, Digital and Business Mathematics, Level 5, 15 Credits.

Total number of credits for Knowledge Modules: 75

Practical Modules (PM)

251201-001-00-PM-01, Document System Design, Level 6, 25 Credits.

251201-001-00-PM-02, Design and Manipulate Databases, Level 5, 5 Credits.

251201-001-00-PM-03, Programme and Deploy Applications, Level 6, 25 Credits.

251201-001-00-PM-04, Test or Debug Source Code to Ensure Client’s needs are met, Level 5, 15 CreditsTotal number of credits for Practical Skill Modules: 75.

Workplace Modules (WM)

251201-001-00-WM-01, Software Design, Level 6, 30 Credits.

251201-001-00-WM-02, Database Design and Manipulation, Level 5, 20 Credits.

251201-001-00-WM-03, Software Development, Level 6, 30 Credits.

251201-001-00-WM-04, Software Testing, Level 5, 15 Credits.

Total number of credits for Work Experience Modules: 95


International comparability was done against qualifications offered in New Zealand and Australia. The two countries were chosen due to their qualifications being the closest match to the Occupational Certificate: Software Engineer. During the design of this qualification and its part-qualification, consideration was given to international qualifications and no exact match was found for the part-qualification.

New Zealand

New Zealand is offering a Diploma in Software Development, Level 6, ID number 2604 with 240 credits. Some of the institutions that offer this qualification include but are not limited to Activate Training Centre Limited, New Zealand School of Education and Northland Polytech Ltd. The entry requirement into this qualification is the attainment of any Level 5 New Zealand Certificate in software development. Learning duration was not specified. This qualification is aimed at preparing learners who have attained a range of Information Technology (IT) knowledge, specialist practices and technical skills in software development, for employment in an entry-level developer or tester role in a range of organisational contexts, or to proceed to further study.


Certificate IV in Information Technology, Ref number ICT40120, found on the Australian Qualifications Framework reflects the role of individuals who are job ready and competent in a wide range of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) roles and apply a broad range of skills in varied work contexts, using problem solving skills and effective communication with others. The qualification is offered over 13 months. This translates to one (1) year and 1 month. Some of the institutions that offer this qualification include amongst others the following: International Institute of Education, Abbey College Australia, Academy IT Pty (Ltd), to name but a few.

Note: All the above information is taken from the Qualification Document registered on National Qualifications Framework (NQF) by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA). The qualification document can be accessed from this link